As I’ve mentioned before, Ramadan is a time for deep reflection. And I’ve been reflecting quite a bit.
In the last couple of days, I’ve been reflecting on…reflection. I’ve been pondering our ability, as humans, to reflect and think.
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been learning a little a bit about psychological concepts like shadow and inner child work. The concept of shadow was first introduced by a Swiss psychiatrist named Carl Jung and his work seems to be gaining traction in the online space, especially within the wellness/holistic health sphere. It stipulates that the parts of ourselves that we hide are our shadow – but these parts are us, and if we ‘integrate’ them back into our consciousness, we can lead healthier and happier lives.
I don’t believe that these concepts are widespread in mainstream psychology today, but I find them quite fascinating. From my experience, and from that I’ve heard from others, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a much better known psychological method.
I don’t mean to say one method might be better than the other, I’m equally fascinated by all these approaches. I’m fascinated by the fact that there are so many psychological practices, and other practices such as prayer in all its forms, that are predicated on our ability to step out of our minds and observe ourselves, while technically still being in our minds.
I think some of us are better at doing it than others. But, most human beings have the innate ability to observe their own thoughts, feelings and behaviours just as well they observe those of others. And, I guess this is what makes us, as my sister often says, the apex predator of the earth.
It’s amazing that we can fundamentally change ourselves, our beliefs and the way we carry ourselves in the world, without getting out of our chairs. Now, of course, taking action is very important when it comes to mental health and mental illness, but through breathing, prayer, reflection, and mindfulness (which is the mental observation of ourselves and everything around us through an objective gaze) are the indispensable tools that we have at our disposal to transform ourselves. And these can be done even if we are completely immobile.
I suppose this post is essentially me expressing my gratitude for my own consciousness. I’m grateful for being able to not only reflect on intellectual ideas and universal truths (or untruths) but to reflect also on my own thought and behavioural patterns. I’m grateful for these because I don’t want to be that person who never changes, who never says sorry and never faces their own emotions.